Live Dealer Casino Hold’em
Live Casino Hold’em
What You Need to Know
Live Dealer Casino Hold’em is a recent addition to the live dealer catalog in some online casinos. Casino Holdem’s popularity has grown since it was first introduced to brick-and-mortar casinos back in 2000. As the poker boom occurred in the decade of the 2000s, more land casinos wanted several Casino Hold’em tables on their gaming floors.
While the game is popular enough in traditional online casino, it is in the live dealer casinos that the game has found its niche. Live dealer Casino Hold’em is the closest an online gambler is going to get to brick-and-mortar Casino Hold’em on the Internet. The games are streamed live to the player from a studio somewhere in the world. The game uses live dealers and real cards to produce a result. No random number generators are used.
These days, more live casinos offer Casino Hold’em all the time. It used to be that live casinos offered blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and craps – usually in that order. Many operators are starting to provide other favorites, while dropping craps, which uses 4 dealers to the 1 needed for other games. Casino Hold’em is a popular substitution, because of the worldwide popularity of Texas Hold’em.
Live dealer Casino Hold’em is not universal. Those want to try out the game after reading this page, but can’t find it at their favorite online casino, should take a look at the list of live dealer online casinos listed at the bottom of this page.
Best Casinos for Live Dealer Casino Hold’em
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Casino Hold’em Basics
Live Dealer Casino Hold’em pits the player against the dealer, instead of other players at the table. The house holds an edge, but it tends to be about 2%, which is better than most table games. The game was enough of a hit that online and mobile casinos operators wanted Casino Holdem in their games list.
Most software providers have their own version for their online casino licensees, though the mobile gaming version is not as widespread. In fact, if you want browser-based Casino Hold’em, you probably need to play it in a live dealer casino. At the moment, live casinos around the world are staffing tables with Live Casino Hold’em dealers.
Differences with Texas Hold’em
Readers might be wondering about the difference between Casino Hold’em and Texas Hold’em, so I’ll give a brief background. The two games have a lot of similarity. The successful advantage player, Stephen Au-Yeung, invented Casino Hold’em in the late 1990s as a tool to train his girlfriend of the time how to play Texas Hold’em. He quickly got the idea the new game might become a popular table game.
In 2000, Stephen Au-Yeung marketed Casino Hold’em, using the slogan “Holdem against the House”. The game proved to be wildly successful in land-based casinos. Texas Hold’em had been the preferred game for tournament poker players for decades, but it was still less known with the mainstream public than games like seven-card stud and five-card poker.
That changed when the World Series of Poker Main Event became a TV success on ESPN in 2003. With the uptick in public interest in Texas Hold’em, casinos became a lot more interested in providing a table game version. By the end of the decade of the 2000’s, most land-based casinos offered the game. In the online gaming industry, Casino Hold’em has only grown in popularity. Live Dealer Casino Hold’em is the ultimate version on the Internet.
Setup of Live Dealer Casino Holdem
Live dealer casinos are operated separately from the suites of casino software you’ll play the virtual games and slots on. Companies including Evolution Gaming and PlayTech run studios, often located in lower cost locations around the world. These are laid out like a real casino, with each table under the gaze of several video cameras which stream the games in high-definition to your computer or mobile device. As an extra security measure, some studios have the TV showing in the background – proving that their games are in real time.
Pick Your Game
You will log on to your casino as usual and click the ‘Live Dealer’ tab or link. Here you will see the selection of games that your casino offers. Most casinos have Roulette and Blackjack, with a mix of Baccarat, 3-Card Poker, and Casino Holdem also spread. There will be variations within each game including different minimum bet amounts and other variations.
All but the biggest casinos will only have a single Live Dealer Casino Holdem table available. This game is organized in such a way that all players get to bet on the same hand.
How Betting Works
Betting interfaces vary slightly between the casinos – though the key parts are all there. To bet you will choose your chip amount and drop this chip onto the screen to the Ante (and then Call) circles. This is exactly the same as in a virtual game. You can drop an additional chip onto the ‘AA’ side-bet if you wish.
In the middle of the screen, you will see the dealer deal extra-large cards from a shoe in full view. The dealers are usually young and attractive females though some games are hosted by guys. You can interact with the dealer via a text chat option, which can also be used to chat with the other players. Dealers will reply where appropriate out loud. The final parts of the interface include the recent hand histories, sizing and stream quality options. When the hand is complete, winning bets will be paid out automatically, and you’ll have the opportunity to repeat your last bet.
Advantages of Live Casino Hold’em
Many players prefer live dealer casino hold’em to the virtual simulations in most online casinos. Significant reasons exist for using live dealers for table gaming. Here’s a short list of advantages.
- Poker is a social game, so Live Casino Hold’em beats the solitary game offered in virtual casinos.
- Casino Hold’em pits players against the dealer, so the gamblers are not adversaries as in Texas Hold’em.
- Live casinos top-off players’ bankrolls with bonuses during play.
- Results are determined by the drawing of cards. No random number generators are needed.
- No animated graphics or simulators.
- Most mobile casinos do not offer Mobile Casino Hold’em, so this is the best option for Android, iPhone, and iPad users.
- The game flows better when it is dealt by a human being. The computerized version of the game goes too fast, which can be dangerous to a gambler used to a different pace.
- As a general rule, live dealers are attractive. That makes any game more pleasant.
- Live gaming simply has a much higher entertainment value. It can get repetitive to play any simulated game for hours, but playing with real people keeps the game lively.
It should be noted that some casino operators, like Real Time Gaming, offer games like Caribbean Hold’em as a substitute. Such games pay 1:1 on the ante bet, which is a stark contrast to live dealer casino hold’em. While Caribbean Holdem has a progressive jackpot side bet, the odds are simply better when playing the original version of the game.
Steps to Play Live Dealer Casino Hold’em
To play live dealer Casino Hold’em for real money, you’ll need to register with a site and fund your account. This process is not hard, but new players who don’t want to miss a step can use this a guide.
This section provides the steps for signing up to play at a live casino. Below that is a guide to play the game itself.
That covers the technical process of playing at a live casino. Most live casinos have a tutorial or FAQ, if you have further questions. Also, sites provide customer support via Live Chat, email, and toll-free phone numbers.
Below is advice on playing Casino Hold’em itself. If you have any issues while trying to play with live dealers, try updating the software on your computer or mobile device. Also, changing browsers sometimes helps.
Live Dealer Casino Hold’Em Video
Where to Play Live Dealer Casino Hold’em Online
It used to be that Live Dealer Casino Hold’em was hard to find online. That is no longer the case. There has been a proliferation of live casino providers, along with the online and mobile casinos who license the use of their studios. These operators know Live Dealer Casino Hold’em is a favorite with players, so they license this game if they can. Below is a list of our recommended Live Dealer Casino Hold’em sites.
Max: $100 – $500
Other Casinos That Offer Live Dealer Casino Hold’em
Below are other casinos that offer live Casino Hold’em online. Some of these casinos accept US players, while others cater to international players. Be sure to read the reviews for the casinos. For those casinos that do not have a review, we have not verified their legitimacy. Proceed with caution if you decide to play at any of the casinos not reviewed.
- 32Red Casino
- Black Diamond
- Bodog Asia Live
- Box24 Casino
How to Play The Game
A hand of Casino Hold’em is easy to play. If you’ve ever played Texas Hold’em, most of the conventions are maintained. The game uses the same community card rules which are such a defining feature of Texas Hold’em.
The hand is truncated compared to the player-vs-player version of Texas Hold’em. Another difference is the use of an ante bet each hand, instead of a big blind/small blind betting of Texas Holdem. Another is the need to beat only one hand at the table: the dealer’s hand.
A new hand begins with each player making an ante bet.
Cards Are Dealt
The dealer gives each player 2 hole cards each, while dealing out 2 hole cards to himself or herself. Then the dealer deals 3 community cards, which are placed at the center of the table.
The player must decide whether to fold or raise. If the player folds, he or she duffs their cards and loses their bet. If the player raises, then the call bet is 2x the ante bet.
Once the raise bets are made, then the dealer places two more community cards on the table. Casino Hold’em does not have multiple raise bets, like Texas Hold’em would.
Dealer Reveals Hand
The dealer reveals their cards. The dealer must qualify to play, by holding a pair of 4’s or better.
- If the dealer does not qualify, then the players are paid on the ante bet according to the pay table. The raise bet is considered a push.
- If the dealer’s hand qualifies, then the hand plays out like it would in Texas Hold’em. If the dealer’s hand beats the player’s hand, then the player loses their ante bet and raise bet.
- If the player beats the dealer’s hand, then the player is paid on the ante bet according to the pay table. The raise bet is paid at a 1-to-1 rate.
- If the dealer qualifies and their hand ties the player’s hand, then the ante bet and raise bet are considered a push.
These steps are repeated for as many hands as the player wants to continue playing. Anytime you’re ready to end the session, leave the game. Remember to walk away if you’ve lost a number of hands in a row or you feel yourself going on tilt.
As mentioned before, the house edge varies according to the house rules, but most Live Dealer Casino Holdem games have a house edge a little above 2.00%.
Alternate Live Texas Hold’em Games
Live Dealer Casino Hold’em Strategy
Once you are ready to go, the next step is to make sure you know the strategy to keep the house edge as small as possible. By making the right moves you can bring the Live Dealer Casino Holdem edge down to around 2.5% to the house. This is reasonably low compared to many other casino games – giving you a reasonable chance of hitting some winning streaks or clearing that casino bonus.
The first step is to place an Ante bet; this is a requirement for you to participate in the game. The minimum bet will vary between different casinos, starting at just $1. At this point you have the option to play the ‘AA’ side bet, which pays out for good hands on the flop. This is described separately below.
Live dealer games need to run fast, so you’ll need to place your Ante before the timer runs out. At this point the dealer will deal 2 cards to the players face-up, 2 card for herself face down and then 3 more cards in the middle of the table – the flop.
You now get to make the main decision of the game – whether to fold or to call by placing twice your ante bet on the table.
Two Strategies to Use
The exact strategy for this is complex; however this can be broken down into the following rules of thumb:
- Situations to Call: If you have a pair (either both hole cards or in combination with the flop), 2 overcards to the flop, any ace or king high or 1 card to a straight or flush.
- Situations to Fold: When the board is paired and you do not hold a card above 10, when you miss the flop and do not have 2 overcards or an ace or king in your hand.
After a Decision is Made
After you call (or fold), the dealer will deal the turn and river, and then reveal her own cards. Payouts depend on whether the dealer has ‘qualified’ with a pair or better. If not then you only get paid double your ante. If the dealer qualified and you beat her hand, then you get paid on your call at 1-to-1 and the ante based on the following table:
- Straight or Lower: 1-to-1
- Flush: 2-to-1
- Full House: 3-to-1
- Quads: 10-to-1
- Straight Flush: 20-to-1
- Royal Flush: 100-to-1
If the dealer has the better hand, then you lose both your ante and call bets. You can refer to the Wizard of Odds to learn more about Casino Hold’em strategy.
AA Side Bet
Side bets in the casino usually have a higher house edge than the main game – and this one is no exception. If you want to add some excitement and variance to your results, then the optional ‘AA’ side bet will help you do exactly that.
This gamble is based on your cards and the flop – and does not involve the dealers hand or turn / river in any way. You place a bet and if you make a pair of aces or better on the flop, you will win a prize. This is typically 7-to-1 for aces up to a straight, with flushes at 20-to-1, full house 30-to-1, quads 40-to-1 straight flush 50-to-1 and 100-to-1 for the royal flush.